The Government’s Eatwell Guide

The Eatwell Guide shows the proportions in which we should be eating different types of foods in to have a healthy balanced diet. The Eatwell Guide applies to most people in the population regardless of their weight, dietary restrictions, food preferences, or ethnic origin. Please note that the Eatwell Guide does not apply to children under the age of two because they have different nutritional needs. Between the ages of two and five, children should gradually move to eating the same foods as the rest of the family. Anyone with special dietary requirements or medical conditions should check with their doctor or dietitian whether the Eatwell Guide is appropriate for their specific needs.

How does the Eatwell Guide work?

All the foods we eat in our diet can be broken down into five main groups. We should be eating a variety of foods from each of these groups in order to consume a healthy, balanced diet to provide us with the wide range of nutrients we need to stay healthy. The Eatwell Guide shows the right proportions of the main food groups that we should be eating to have a healthy, balanced diet.

Ideally we should be aiming to get the balance of our diets right every day. This means eating foods from each food group on the Eatwell Guide in the right proportions. However, this is may not always be possible- on special occasions or on holiday for example.

As well as being essential for good health, food is also a fundamental part of human enjoyment and deviating from the balance of the Eatwell Guide from time to time will not have a significant impact on our weight or health. The proportions shown on the Eatwell Guide are representative of food consumption over the period of a day or even a week, not necessarily each meal time.

The next section provides an overview of the different food groups of the Eatwell Guide including:

  • The foods that are in each group
  • The key nutrients that the food groupsprovides
  • Any emerging evidence or viewpoints that differ from the government’s standard advice on healthy eating